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Optimizing Point-of-Care Testing for Greater Reliability, Efficacy

Pharmacy Times – by Stuart Perry

Point-of-care testing can vary in complexity, but is always performed at or near a patient and at the site where care or treatment is provided.

Point-of-care testing (POCT), most commonly demonstrated as blood glucose monitoring and home pregnancy tests, is any diagnostic tests performed at or near a patient and at the site where care or treatment is provided. Results are rapid and reliable, allowing providers to identify and manage chronic diseases and acute infection treatment.

These tests vary in complexity, including basic dipsticks for urinalysis and handheld devices like glucose meters or sophisticated molecular analyzers to detect infectious diseases. Because POCT occurs near the point of patient care, it reduces turnaround time, avoids overcrowding at hospitals, and eliminates sample transportation and handling requirements. The streamlined screening enhances patient outcomes and access to care, allowing public health agencies to more effectively reach targeted populations.

Although POCT has several advantages over traditional laboratory testing, these tests are not immune to challenges which restrict adoption; moreover, there is always room for further optimization.

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